(San Francisco) Google has reached an agreement to settle a consumer privacy dispute that could have cost it at least $5 billion in damages in the United States.

With this agreement, the details of which are not made public, the technology giant should escape a lawsuit for having kept the data of users who thought they were browsing the Internet in private mode.

According to a document posted online Thursday by a California court, the judge confirmed that Google’s lawyers had reached a preliminary agreement to resolve the class-action lawsuit filed against the company, a suit that potentially affected millions of people.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers demanded at least $5,000 for each user who, according to them, had been tracked by visiting the Google Analytics and Ad Manager platforms in “private browsing” mode, without being logged into their Google account.

In total, Google could have had to pay at least $5 billion. Contacted by AFP, neither Google’s lawyers nor those of the users responded by midday.

For the plaintiffs’ lawyers, Google’s practices violated users’ privacy by “intentionally” deceiving them, giving Google “the power to obtain intimate details” about their lives, interests and use of the internet.

Google has thus built up a wealth of information “exceeding all control, so detailed and so vast that George Orwell could never have imagined”, according to them.

No amount has been made public. The agreement is expected to be formally presented to the court on February 24, 2024.